Blog: Commentary from the den of a pulp super-fan

Galactic Central & the FictionMags Index

Posted by at 10:00 am Friday, April 21, 2017 in Commentary, References, Review
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Galactic Central & the FictionMags Index

'The Hero Pulp Index'While I was an early science-fiction fan (including pulp sf), I also got into comic books as a kid, and later started to collect them. A resource I started to obtain was the annual Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. The first edition I got was #9 from 1979, after seeing #8 in a bookstore. But here was the thing.

I didn’t care about comic book prices. Never did.

I got Overstreet for all the other information it had that I needed as a collector. When did a title start and end? What titles got renamed or merged? How many issues did it have? What issues of a title had certain backup series? Where did certain backup series go from one title to another? Which ones had certain creators work on? And so on.

When I got into reading pulp heroes, this sort of information was missing. Or at least for me in those early pre-Internet days, was hard to find. I was oblivious to the world of fandom at the time. I only later learned about stuff like The Hero Pulp Index. So as I focused on pulp heroes, it was hard to know how many stories a particular character had. Did this serial character run for four stories or six?

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Jess Nevin’s ‘The Pulps: A History’

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, March 29, 2017 in Foreign Pulps, Non-fiction, Pulps, References
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Jess Nevin’s ‘The Pulps: A History’

'The Pulps: A History'For those who don’t know him, Jess Nevins is probably one of the main pure researchers today in the world of pulp. And not just pulps in the U.S., but also overseas.

He has in the past maintained several websites that had information on a wide number of pulp characters. He has also put out several encyclopedic books on the topic, most out of print. He works as a research librarian, and so has access to information that most of us can only dream of.

Thankfully Nevins has shared much of that information. And his recent small book, The Pulps: A History, is but his latest.

While not flashy or the like, this small little tome provides a lot of data on the pulps that too many are either ignorant of or overlook. It seems that part of the reason for putting out this work is to correct all the misleading or inaccurate information out that. As an evocative historian in several areas, I can understand where he is coming from. I’ve tried as best I can in this blog to present as much accurate information as I can, usually hampered by what I have access to.

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‘Echoes Revisited’

Posted by at 10:10 am Wednesday, February 8, 2017 in Fanzines, G-8, Non-fiction, Phantom Detective, References, Review, Secret Agent X, The Avenger
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘Echoes Revisited’

'Echoes Revisited'The fanzine Echoes ran from 1982 to 2002, before the advent of print-on-demand changed pulp fan publishing and ushered in the current New Pulp era.

Echoes was published by Tom and Ginger Johnson for 100 issues and then for a period of time it was an “newszine.” Its last new issue was Echoes Revisited, published in 2002 as a 20th anniversary special issue. This one had a color cover (The Shadow by David Burton) and special binding. There were also 100 numbered copies.

This issue celebrates Echoes with a collection of articles new and old, along with several art portfolios and photocopies of some pulp covers. Sadly, I don’t know which articles are reprints, or from where, nor where some of these articles have appeared since. The articles are grouped by their authors.

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‘Windy City Pulp Stories’ #16

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, July 20, 2016 in Fanzines, Pulps, References, Reprints, Review
Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

‘Windy City Pulp Stories’ #16

"Windy City Pulp Stories" #16Once again another Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention has passed (2016), and we are blessed with a new edition of the Windy City Pulp Stories, now up to #16.

This year’s focus is on science fiction, as well as the 120th anniversary of Argosy. We get a great selection of articles, both new and reprinted in these area.

The largest set are focused on the celebration of science fiction.  And the “new” articles aren’t so new.  While they see print here for the first time, they were actually pulled together in 1979 by Robert Weinberg for a proposed tribute to Astounding on its 50th Anniversary.  Which never saw print.  Here we get a tribute by Robert Weinberg on Astounding, as well as an interview with A.E. van Vogt. Will Murray provides a couple of short, but still interesting, articles. One is an “alternate history” of early SF mags. Basically a look at what might have been. His second is a list of oddities from Astounding.

Then we get “Reflections on Science Fiction,” by Manly Wade Wellman, which tells of him getting into writing science fiction. “An Interview With Poul Anderson,” by Dave Studzinski.

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Fanzine focus: ‘The Pulpster’ #24

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, March 2, 2016 in Conventions, Doctor Death, Fanzines, H.P. Lovecraft, Non-fiction, References, Review, Street & Smith, Thrilling
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Fanzine focus: ‘The Pulpster’ #24

'The Pulpster' #24The Pulpster is the program book for PulpFest, and this time we look at the most recent Pulpster, #24, from Pulpfest 2015. I wasn’t able to attend, but got it.

Each issue of The Pulpster is packed with articles on the pulps, rounded out with artwork, and professionally printed. They stand up to any fanzine. Many articles are written by several of the major pulp researchers, and many articles are organized around the theme for PulpFest. For 2015, the theme was H.P. Lovecraft at 125.

The cover is a photo of Lovecraft taken at age 25. The rest of the issue features several great articles, plus one piece of fiction.

Tying to theme, we get a retrospective of Lovecraft’s legacy from several authors. Each one contributes about a half page write up, and many of the authors have themselves contributed Lovecraft-esque works. So these was an enjoyable set of pieces.

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Three books for Shadow fans

Posted by at 10:00 am Wednesday, January 21, 2015 in Non-fiction, References, Review, The Shadow
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Gangland's DoomThere are three books I think every fan of The Shadow should have:

  • “Gangland’s Doom,” Frank Eisgruber Jr. (1973, 1985, 2007)
  • “The Shadow Scrapbook,” Walter Gibson and Anthony Tollin (1979)
  • “The Duende History of The Shadow Magazine,” Will Murray, et al (1980)

Frank Eisgruber’s “Gandland’s Doom” was the first book-length work on The Shadow. Printed years ago (Pulp Classics #1 in 1973, then a Starmont House reprint in 1985), it was thankfully reprinted in a new edition by Altus Press, which fixes some errors and has updates.

We get several chapters looking at all aspects of The Shadow. We first get one on his real identity and background (as given in the pulp), then on his several false identities like Lamont Cranston and Henry Arnaud.

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